After some of the responses I got to my last post (all of which encouraged and inspired me), I wanted to clarify that alcoholism isn’t the root of my issues. It’s definitely a symptom, and a complication, but the tricky thing is that my problem drinking looks a lot like the habits of any urban 20something who glugs wine to wash out OKCupid’s latest disappointment or knocks back mystery juice from a beaker in a club because it’s Halloween and life is short!
I fit snugly into America’s balls-to-the-walls drinking culture. I wasn’t blacking out in the streets or waking up in unknown homes, I didn’t sneak vodka into my water bottle, but I still put myself in danger by relying on alcohol to deal with my brain’s favorite frenemy, Major Depressive Disorder. I know lots of people who swallow antidepressants with beer, but my psychiatrists (and social worker and counselor and doctor and parents) have warned me to not pull that shit anymore.
Here I am drunk at QT on Christmas Eve, not long before I fell asleep next to the toilet, forcing my dad to haul me upstairs where I made my sisters’ bedrooms smell “like a bar,” which made both of them cry.
To keep a record of this early stage of sobriety and to just be real with everyone about how I’m feeling, I thought I’d elucidate some of the pros and cons of the last month’s lack of substance use.
Pro: All the money I used to spend on Yellowtail bottles at home and PBR at bars now covers some of the gaps in income since I left my temp gig for part-time minimum wage life. Ten dollars an hour is a blessing, but it barely allows for cappuccinos, much less bottle service.
Con: I only poop once a week now. Always on Saturday, for some reason. I knew beer poos were a fairly universal phenomenon, but I did not anticipate their opposite.
Pro: I have not texted any exes with 3am revelations. This wasn’t a regular occurrence, but in weepy meltdown mode I’ve been guilty of calling a former love from the bathroom floor, chastising a recent ex for turning off his Read Receipts, and cruising my high school crush’s wedding photos on Facebook. Any cessation of this activity is a blessing.
Con: I don’t remember how to participate in group discussions. On Halloween, I sipped club soda from a port glass and gaped at a semi-circle of barely-acquaintances, ping-ponging ineffectively between conversations until I retreated to the pantry for deep breathing under the guise of reading soup can labels. I can’t manage a conversation while facing a television, much less juggle three in a room full of costumes and dance music.
Thank God I had this Tilda clone to guide me.
Pro: I haven’t drunkenly kissed anyone!
Con: I still want to kiss people but it is way scarier now!
Pro: I have not, in this entire period, consumed a Cheetos Puff, that favored munchie of yesteryear, nor have I ambled over to McDonald’s at 11pm in the wake of a beer bender.
Con: I’ve still managed to gain weight, possibly thanks to my mediocre metabolism and the side effects of the drugs intended to make me a functionally content human. Granted, I consider this extremely small beans. (My mantra when dispelling with body hate/food shame is Live Fat, Die Yum.)
Overall I’d say the pros have it for sure. Thank you all so, so much for your support and your stories. It’s a big relief to shout into the online void and hear kind voices calling back.